Healthy Communities Policy Guide

By American Planning Association



APA's Healthy Communities Policy Guide identifies policy ideas for local, state, and federally elected officials aimed at improving community health and quality of living through planning.

APA believes "healthy communities" are places where all individuals have access to healthy built, social, economic, and natural environments that give them the opportunity to live their fullest potential regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, income, age, abilities, or other socially defined circumstance.

Share this action-oriented guide with policymakers representing your community. Planning for health requires government at all levels to address determinants of chronic disease early by integrating health considerations in planning.

Why Your Community Needs the Healthy Community Policy Guide

Healthy Communities Collaborative Chair Cailean Kok, AICP, discusses why elected officials and planners should use this set of policies to promote and build healthy communities.



How to Use the Guide in Your Community's Plans


Use the summary to share new policy ideas at-a-glance with colleagues and elected officials.


Use these APA resources to assess, monitor, and report progress toward healthy planning goals.

Metrics for Planning Healthy Communities

Plan4Health: Health in All Planning Policies Toolkit


This guide was approved by the APA Delegate Assembly on September 24, 2017, and ratified by the APA Board of Directors on October 26, 2017.


Page Count
Adobe PDF

About the Author

American Planning Association
The American Planning Association provides leadership in the development of vital communities by advocating excellence in planning, promoting education and citizen empowerment, and providing the tools and support necessary to meet the challenges of growth and change.

Table of Contents


Historical Context

Planning’s Role

Rationale and Key Facts

Guiding Policies
General Policies
Specific Policies
Policy Outcomes

Resources: Defining Success For Healthy Communities